Fun, Games, and Victory on 70s Night at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightAnother crowd of over 30,000 fans turned out last night at Nationals Park for a fun-filled theme night and a thrilling extra-innings victory over the Atlanta Braves.

It was Washington Nationals 1970s night, and the team did a great job of extending the theme throughout the fan experience. 70s-themed music, player introductions, and contests were the order of the night, and even the Nationals Park scoreboard went retro, with a low-definition monochrome look reminiscent of the first JumboTron scoreboards of the era.

Player introduction music was turned into a hit parade of unforgetable (no matter how hard you try) 1970s classics — everything from Isaac Hayes to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightNationals mascot Screech traded in his usual white uniform for a scruffier tie-dye look, and Members of the Nat Pack went all out with outrageous wigs and costumes. The players, of course, had to wear their official team uniforms, but
Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt on 70s Night at Nationals Parkthe scoreboard gave fans an alternate view of what each particular player might have looked like with 1970s-era hair and mustache.

When it came time for the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield fence wearing a plaid bandana. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide much help as he fell back from the pack early and had to watch as Abe broke the tape to capture his 40th presidents race victory of the season.

Too many fun photos to share here. For more, check out the photoset on flickr.

Teddy Roosevelt in a leisure suit? Can’t quite picture it.

Saturday night is “70’s Night” for the 2nd game of the series between the Washington Nationals’ and Atlanta Braves and the question on the minds of Nationals Park regulars is “What will Teddy wear?”

After this week’s Manny Ramirez do-rag, expectations may be high for Teddy to dress up for the occasion.

It should be a fun night at the park, with the Saturday night movie following the game. All ticket holders are invited to stay after the game to watch “The Natural” on the huge Nationals Park high definition scoreboard. Concessions, as always, will remain open. See you there!

Teddy Roosevelt as Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez is showing the Nationals League what a magnet of a personality he is.

Teddy Roosevelt’s turn in a Manny Ramirez do-rag for Tuesday night’s game vs. the Dodgers received a lot of attention from bloggers and media. Among the national attention was a photo in yesterday’s Big League Stew.

Now thanks to YouTube member mercerboy we have this excellent video of the race itself.

This one will definitely earn a permanent spot on the presidents race videos page.

Photo courtesy of Megan Snider

Teddy races in dreadlocks to welcome Manny Ramirez to Nationals Park

Manny Ramirez inspired Teddy Roosevelt to run the presidents race in dreadlocksWith Manny Ramirez in town to make his Nationals Park debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals kicked off their nine-game homestand tonight with a Manny-inspired fourth inning tribute.

When Abe, George, Tom, and Teddy were introduced for the Nationals presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield gates wearing a Manny Ramirez-style doo rag and dreadlocks. Urged on by the crowd, Teddy took a quick lead, but found it hard to resist the enthusiastic fans he encountered along the first-base line. When he paused, the other racing presidents quickly passed him. It was tight to the finish, but once again Abe took the tape.

Photo by flickr member Liliang

Post’s Stephen Hunter calls for Nationals fans to turn against the presidents race

With Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers arriving at Nationals Park tonight for another free T-Shirt Tuesday, Nationals fans are holding out hope that the homestand which begins today can help erase their painful memories of the last two home series in which the Nationals were dominated by the Mets and Rockies.

Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post thinks we should hate the Washington Nationals presidents raceIn today’s Washington Post, film critic and author Stephen Hunter writes about the pain and disappointment of following a losing team. Calling himself “an expert on baseball hurt,” Hunter argues that baseball is “just a toothache,” and the only way to cope is to learn to hate. Choosing the object of that hate is the beginning of the mission.

While Orioles fans have a ready-made villain in owner Peter Angelos, it’s not so obvious for Nationals fans. With no history, no curses, and no larger-than-life monstrous personalities to target, Hunter has concluded that Nationals fans must find something else to hate passionately, and his target of choice is the presidents race.

Hunter calls the team’s racing presidents “charmless, awkward, silly, sexless and pointless,” and is encouraging Nationals fans to channel their frustrations by nurturing vitriol against Teddy and his endless quest for victory.

I’ve always enjoyed Stephen Hunter’s writing, but on this point, I think he is deluded by his years of baggage as an Orioles fan. Hunter argues that hatred gives baseball fans purpose and a mission. I’m all for hating the Mets and Phillies, but do we need to hate our own team? A small pocket of presidents race haters has shown up here in the comments and on “About Me” page. What do you think?

Photo by flickr member Ron Hogan

Racing Presidents Run Hurdles to Honor Olympics

Teddy Roosevelt hurdles in Sunday's Olympic-inspired Washington Nationals Presidents RaceIn their last home game to be played during these 2008 Olympics, the Washington Nationals pulled out all the stops to stage an Olympics-inspired presidents race during the fourth inning Sunday at Nationals Park.

If Saturday night’s race-walk didn’t impress you, then the sight of our favorite 10-foot tall racing presidents jumping over hurdles certainly had to. That’s right — hurdles.

In a scene reminiscent of a previous Olympiad, Abe Lincoln, who has whipped the competition this season, emerged during the race introductions wearing Michael Johnson-inspired gold running shoes. Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln each ran the anchor leg of a hurdle relay which was confined to the outfield. Abe beat Teddy to the finish, and was declared the winner along with teammate George Washington. This is the first time a joint victory has been awarded in presidents race history.

I hope at least one of you readers captured this memorable spectacle on video.

Photo courtesy of flickr member Liliang

Teddy disqualified for cheating in walk-race

Last night at Nationals Park, the racing presidents honored the Olympics by running that most difficult of track events — the walk race. After it was announced that walk race rules were in effect, the racing presidents took off — slowly — in a painful demonstration of speed-walking while wearing a 10-foot costume.

Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt was sympathetic to the umpires’ desire to start the 5th inning, but before the pack had even reached the right field corner, he decided to take things into his own hands.

The Nationals Park crowd roared with approval as Teddy cut the outfield corner and broke into a sprint for the finish line. Of course, that buzzkill Screech was there to issue an immediate disqualification, and Thomas Jefferson was granted the victory.

Where is Screech to throw the flag when Abe cheats?

Abe steals another win, avoids disqualification

A day after clinching the presidents race title for 2008, racing president Abe Lincoln appeared to show up at Nationals Park last night intent on running up his win total no matter the cost.

Lincoln’s arrogance was on display once again as he started the race in a trot, but his attempt to put on a late burst of speed did not seem to be enough to catch George Washington. It took a last second shove to push George out of the way. Perhaps Screech wasn’t looking, because Abe avoided disqualification and added another W to his season total.

With the season title already wrapped up, one has to wonder why Abe would continue this season-long string of suspicious behavior. Will George seek revenge with only 2 games to go in the homestand? I think a lot of presidents race observers wouldn’t mind seeing Abe get his due.

A Well-Traveled Teddy Roosevelt Bobblehead Doll

Phil's photoset on flickrOne of the regular contributors to the Nationals Presidents Race group on photo sharing site Flickr is Arlington native Phil Yabut, a frequent visitor to Nationals Park who goes by the name philliefan99.

I recently met Phil on Teddy’s T-Shirt Tuesday at Nationals Park, and despite his unfortunate handle, this Arlington resident is obviously fond of the Washington Nationals and our favorite 4th-inning distraction. In fact, a trip through Phil’s photostream might even lead the most die-hard of Nationals presidents race fans to forgive his Phillie-fan origins.

Phil's photoset on flickrRecently, Phil has begun taking his Teddy Roosevelt Bobblehead doll from last season at RFK Stadium and photographing it wherever he goes. Teddy’s adventures are being chronicled in a photoset called Teddy’s Travels and Travails.

Check it out. Among other things, you’ll find bobblehead Teddy dining out, riding the Metro, visiting Independence Hall, catching some sun at the beach, and of course attending a Nats game, all captured with Phil’s Pentax camera in some very humorous compositions. It’s highly entertaining and creative, and well, frankly I wish I’d thought of it myself!

Abe Lincoln Clinches 2008 Presidents Race Title

Abe Lincoln clinched the 2008 Washington Nationals Presidents Race title last night at Nationals ParkTeddy Roosevelt took an early lead last night in the Nationals Park presidents race, but as has happened so many times this year — both to Teddy and the Nationals — he was unable to finish and speedster Abe Lincoln won handily.

Abe’s 34h victory of the season assured him of the 2008 Washington Nationals presidents race title. With no more than 80 official president races to be held this season (Teddy’s June grudge match vs. the Orioles Bird was “unsanctioned” and the playoffs are …unlikely), Abe now has a 23 game lead over George Washington with only 22 home games remaining.

Abe’s first presidents race title comes thanks to a suspicious surge of speed this year. Since Thomas Jefferson won in 2006 and George Washington won in 2007, Teddy Roosevelt will enter the fourth presidents race season in 2009 as the only racing president who has not won a season title.

Is it fair to say that Teddy is due? Maybe Abe will let up a bit and give Teddy a chance at late season victory and some momentum to carry into next year.

Photo courtesy of flickr member afagen

Teddy Gives Up Lead, Turns to Chase Panther

Teddy Roosevelt, Washington Nationals Presidents RaceThe air was thick with anticipation last night at Nationals Park as over 32,000 filled the stands for Teddy’s T-Shirt Tuesday. As Teddy Roosevelt’s faithful poured into the stadium, many were disappointed to find that the team had given out all 10,000 free “Run Teddy Run” t-shirts nearly an hour before game time.

The skies were clear, the weather was warm, and the always popular New York Mets were in town to kick off a six game homestand; but make no mistake about it. The attraction drawing so many fans on this Tuesday night was the Bull Moose, who was looking to continue the racing presidents’ unbeaten streak on their T-shirt Tuesdays.

Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt Gives Up Lead to Chase PantherWhen the fourth inning presidents race began, Teddy’s fans were rewarded as he jumped out to a huge lead and maintained it throughout the race.

As Teddy neared the finish line, it appeared that he might actually pull this one out, but he suddenly stopped short and turned around. His frequent nemesis, a panther wearing a “That Cat” t-shirt, appeared near the right field corner. Teddy turned, apparently conflicted between chasing the panther and chasing the finish line. He chose the panther, and Abe raced by him to steal yet another victory from our beloved #26.

The panther is becoming a frequent visitor to Nationals Park. After first attacking Teddy in April, it returned in June wearing the t-shirt and chased Teddy down from behind. Then, just 2 weeks ago, it returned to chase Screech into a collision with Teddy.

Teddy Roosevelt Fans at Nationals ParkThat Cat is quickly becoming Teddy’s Moby Dick.

We spotted some Let Teddy Win t-shirts as soon as we walked by the ticket booth and met many more of the blog readers at the pre-game rally and again after the presidents race down by the first base line.

It was great to meet all of you, despite sharing Teddy’s 173rd consecutive loss.

Teddy’s Big Day Is Here!

No humidity? Is this really DC in August? It appears that the weather gods will be shining on Teddy Roosevelt for tonight’s big “Run Teddy Run!” T-Shirt Tuesday at Nationals Park.

With the Washington Nationals coming off a disastrous weekend series at Miller Park in Milwaukee, what our team needs is a little home cooking, and what could be better than a crowd full of crazy Teddy fans rooting against Johan Santana and the New York Mets?

For those who haven’t been paying attention, tonight is Teddy Roosevelt T-Shirt Tuesday, and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a free “Run Teddy Run” t-shirt courtesy of Tickets.com. George, Tom, and Abe have all had their T-Shirt Tuesdays, and all have won the race on their big nights. Tonight, it’s Teddy’s turn. Even Mets fans are taking up Teddy’s cause.

Regular readers of the Let Teddy Win blog will be there in our Teddy Roosevelt fan gear for a pre-game rally behind Section 102, and some will also gather close to finish line for the 4th-inning presidents race.

See you there! Run Teddy Run!!!

Presidents Race Voting, Teddy T-Shirt Night and More!

What a week! I was out of the country for the last Nationals homestand but you readers did a fantastic job of keeping the blog updated. My only question: Do any of you have photos of George Washington’s 7/31 take down of Thomas Jefferson?

Thanks to you, the Washington Nationals racing presidents have taken the lead in the current round of the MLB mascot brackets. Voting for this round closes tonight at 11pm EDT, so if you haven’t voted yet, vote now.

Of course, the biggest news is that the Nationals have started winning again, and new 2nd baseman Emilio Bonafacio appears to be the real deal — potentially another
building block of The Plan in place for years to come.

Reminder: Tuesday is Teddy Roosevelt T-Shirt Night at Nationals Park. Which streak will be broken? Bring your Teddy Roosevelt signs and wear your Let Teddy Win gear, and we’ll have a little pregame rally behind Section 102. If you don’t have your tickets yet, order them today!

Photo by flickr member The West End

Vote for the Racing Presidents in the MLB Mascot Brackets

Our friends over at Home Run Derby are running a “mascot bracket” that pits major league baseball mascots against each other in a single-elimination popularity contest.

Yes, Screech may be the official team mascot, but HRD wisely chose the popular racing presidents to represent our beloved Washington Nationals.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the San Diego Padres Swinging Friar has a lead in the voting over the Nationals’ presidents. We can’t let George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy lose out to a goofy-looking Padre. Place your vote now!

Voting ends on this Friday, August 8 at 11:00pm EST.

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